Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sweet & Soft :: Perry

This is Perry. He likes being entertained in all sorts of ways...his favourites are comedy and song & dance routines. So it only seems natural that he'd love to be a vaudeville host when he grows up. In the meantime, he's honing his "Roll up! roll up!" skills with the other kids in the playground, putting on makeshift shows and munching on orange poppyseed cake!

He is made from some beautiful Italian check fabric scraps... rescued from a menswear range of jackets. N

Friday, July 28, 2006

Sweet Inspiration :: Always prepared

Following the Scouts' motto "Always prepared" has stood Nicky & I well in our respective traveling adventures... Nicky is decidedly more organised than me, but I do have my own clutch of maps & websites! This has not stopped me from pilfering her spreadsheet of patisseries in Paris though!

So as I am leaving for Tokyo early Monday morning I thought I should get organised, put the washing on, dig around for the passport, book the pup into the kennels (he thinks it is a country retreat) and drag out my stuff on Tokyo.

This book "walking on streets of Aoyama" was my new find last trip... and I thought you might like to peek at some of the wallet damaging shopping inspiration held within it's pages.

This little shop, Le Charme de Fifi et Fafa is intriguing, plastic dinosaurs & lingerie!

Nuno Works seems to be a artisan fabric shop which sells the fabrics & wares made from the range.

And just in case I am feeling like a enormous creamy fruity cake for a pick-me-up there is the Berry cafe!

Nicky also recently purchased a book that has lots of craft & Zakka stores in Japan listed in the back. These are a few I hope to hit if I can figure out the maps and if they are actually in Tokyo!

Passe Compose

With all this research I hope to have lots of things to bring back & share (Heh! Heh!- So glad my boy hardly reads this blog)! T

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sew Sweet :: Cutie made me do it

If my boy doesn't see me for a few days or so (he travels for work) I always score a magazine or Japanese craft book from him! Last time my surprise was this Cutie magazine...

I love, love, love the apron on the cover. At the time I was looking for inspiration for Tie One On's theme of favourite musical and this was it. My favourite musical? Annie. I went to the movie, watched the video and listened & listened to the album... my childhood friend and I were always singing along in her bedroom...

So this is my "Hard Knock Life" apron... Annie was poor at this stage, just an orphan in scrap material hanging out for "tomorrow"! I left it untied to achieve that Cutie cover look!

A close up of bib...

It took me longer to make than I expected, sewing all the pieces together... It turned out a bit frumpy compared to the Cutie version & I'm not that happy with the gathering. I got a bit carried away and made the length way to long. So I am ready to try again! T

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sweet Eats:: Like a kid in a candy store...

I'm a lolly girl through and through. Or a candy girl, whatever you want to call it. As a little girl, I spent my pocket money on lollies in the local (now sadly long-gone) milkbars, where 20c could buy you so much!! The 1c & 2c coinage was phased out long ago in this country, but to think that once upon a time 1c could buy you a seems such good value looking back now...

Well, even though I can't pop down to the local milkbar anymore, that hasn't stopped my penchant for lollies. Whether at school/uni/work...there were always lollies tucked in my pocket/satchel/office drawer. My current favourites are anything apple, lemon or berry flavoured. Oh, and gummy bears. Gummy anything. So, on the day Tiff & I celebrated our 100th post, we popped down to the Sticky candy shop in The Rocks for a to speak.

This place really does make you feel like a kid in a candy store. Rows and rows of colourful rock candy and lollypops in a multitude of flavours. Not only that, but you get to watch the stuff being made! It's amazing to's a taste of what we saw:

Rolling out the mammoth candy on a heated rubber mat to keep it pliable...definitely lots of upper body strength required here!...

A bit of rolling action...

Ready to be chopped up into bite-sized pieces....

A small selection of the candy on offer...

Of course, the great thing about Sticky is the sampling on offer! What perfect timing we thought...cos we got to try the candy we watched being was still warm! These particular ones were personalised with a couple's names in tiny characters inside...I have still not worked out how they do this!

Tiff bought a lollypop for her niece (who I believe has had to lick it in stages to space out the sugar hits!), but surprisingly we both left empty-handed. What stopped me from buying some toffee apple-flavoured rock?? Hmmm...could it be the stash of sweets I already have in my pantry? So we grabbed another sample for the the knowledge that we'll be back again soon! N

10 The Rocks Centre
Kendall Lane
The Rocks, Sydney 2000
T: (02) 9252 3337

Monday, July 24, 2006

Sweet & Soft :: Caesar

Of course this little guy wants to be emperor and he snacks on Greek almond cookies all day.... because he can! Emperor's privileges!

Made from: Yummy Parisian fabric, 100% cotton with flowers overprinted... scraps rescued from a menswear label.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sweet Inspiration :: Thrift to create!

"Mismatched plates & cups found in thrift shops are stacked and glued together so that the objects are given new life"

These lovely objects are called the "Salvation" project... I found them in a magazine, I am not sure which one! Due to the massive amount of periodicals I have I have started ripping out the "good" pages so I can't tell you much except that they were created by Constantin & Laurene Boym with Mooi studio... and that this collection of thrifted objects were shown at the prestigious Milan's furniture fair! Wow! Doesn't it make you want to go thrifting or Op shopping as we call it?!

What are the possibilities?! I am not sure that my brain works in such a creative way... I am only just starting to overcome my reticence in the op shopping department. When I was a kid we went to our local St. Vinnies every week (or that is my recollection)... I devour books, so I think it was a pretty economical way that my mum satisfied my need for a regular new book.

When I went to uni it was pretty cool to trawl through the musty shelves to find interesting things for dress up parties. I bought my first wedding dress at St. Vinnies! And I modified it into an angel's outfit... but of recent years I have found it a bit hard to overcome my dislike for the musty smells... But reading blogs have really spiked my interest in thrifting again. Besides it runs in my blood, my mum is a hard core op shopper, recently discovering a Chanel suit for $100... to bad it was too small & cream!

Here are my recent finds...

I don't even really like eggs but with those sweet little faces I just had to have these egg cups. On their base it reads "Genuine Anne Beate Design * Handmade in Denmark"... It just makes me wonder what journey they have been on, only to be found nestled on a table at a market stall. I think I might use them as candle holders... or just look at them on my desk. They still have their spoons which I think is pretty amazing.

Nicky has also been out & about at St. Vinnies and other places! She found these plastic cannisters... and spent time picking through piles of buttons. She even made friends with the little old ladies behind the counter, they had her sorting all the buttons into colours! Thats how you spot the best ones!

And something totally unrelated, Sally & Bekka asked me about the loop & bow on the side of the bib. I don't think my powers of description are up to describing the method. So to use the old adage "a picture is worth a 1000 words"... here is the diagram from Masaki's book I mention yesterday.

Happy thrifting folks! T

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sew Sweet:: Bib & Babe

One of my friends from Uni (College) emailed to let me know that his first born, a little girl had safely arrived... Both mumma & babe are doing well, so my mind quickly jumped to the gift! This friend is a fantastic gift giver... when I turned 21 (not so long ago, Heh! Heh!) he made me a clay "Farside" cow. For another friend he painted a rustic Provencal type chair with a van Gogh inspired picture! So of course I wanted to make something!

So little Jemima was whipped up yesterday along with a matching bib. The neck tie for the bib was inspired by a Masaki Apron... when I have baby sitted I have always found it hard to tie a bib at the back when the little one in my care is screaming for food (do I sound like a nervous aunt!).

I used a pattern for the doll from Martha Stewart kids...

The September/ October 2004 edition.

I am also thinking about making these felt booties using this pattern from Martha as well. I really enjoyed making Jemima and I think I will be making another one soon as the babes seem to be coming think & fast at the moment! T

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sweet Eats:: A sweet discovery...

Anyone who knows me well knows that when I travel, I like to plan a detailed itinerary. Super detailed. It doesn't necessarily have to be followed...I just like knowing what my options are, opening times I'm not wasting time looking for a place or disappointed if I turn up somewhere & it's closed! This extensive research also encompasses all things related to food. Restaurants, markets, specialist food stores, patisseries...they're all typed up in a spreadsheet!

On our last trip to Paris, we stayed again in the Latin's close to sights, there are lots of daily markets, restaurants & shops. We headed down the famous street, Rue Mouffetard...if you've seen the movie 'Amelie', this is the street where the man in the phonebox discovers his childhood treasure box. The lower end of the street is full of food shops spilling out onto the street, and it is here we unexpectedly discovered the amazing Xavier Le Quere patisserie...standing out in all its modern slickness. In a central glass case with overhead spotlights were the stars of the show...gorgeous little pastries like the raspberry tart I eventually decided upon.

Here's a pic of the'll have to excuse my head being attached to the glass case...the hubbie always chuckles at this "typically Nicky" shot when in front of patisserie displays:

The packaging was sublime (I love that pastries over there are given such respect!), the price very reasonable (almost half the price of Pierre Herme's offerings)....and the tart was delicious. Crisp pastry & the juiciest raspberries! And that's the beauty I've found about travelling...sometimes all the planning in the world can't prepare you for the sweet surprises that you find...N

NB. I've just found out on another blog that the Xavier Le Quere store has recently moved (will keep you posted)...replaced by another patisserie, Pascal Caffet. Hmmm...another beauty about travelling...never finding your favourite haunts again...but at least, the chance to discover new ones!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sweet & Soft: Leroy

Meet little Leroy here. He aspires to be a wedding singer, rehashing all those 80's classic hits! I bet you can guess what his fav dessert must be! In his brown & white floral and ruffles, we think he'd give THE Wedding Singer (aka. Adam Sandler's character, Robbie Hart) a run for his money!

Yes, that movie's gotta be one of our fav' it the trip down memory lane with all that crazy geometric primary-coloured fashion, the lycra, the big hair...or is it just the awesome music?? No other decade did pop music like the 80's! Just the other day, Tiff, myself & our hubbies had a reminisce about 80's music. Past pop loves like A-ha, Banarama, Billy Joel and Michael Jackson came out of our collective memory banks (I confess....A-ha was mine!!). I even confessed the first album I bought as a wee 10-year old was Olivia Newton John's "Soul Kiss". Hmmm....are we showing our age or what?!

Leroy has yet to show off his talents at the market, but we're sure people will be floored by his Culture Club renditions! N

Friday, July 14, 2006

Sweet inspiration :: Story book dreams

My dad says that I am a dreamer... Living in the land of the "Faraway Tree". I don't deny it! Story books have always captured my imagination... I have always been able to disappear into the world of pixies, childhood adventures and sweets that grow and grow in your mouth til they explode with goodness! It must be genetic, my youngest brother was captured for years by the story book "Home for a bunny".

I am sure that part of this fascination was because of the pictures.... and I have discovered some amazing Japanese story book pictures! Apparently these were created in the 20's & 30's... before the age of the computer. To me they are exquisite, you can see the time taken to design these beauties.

It makes me think about how things have changed... who can get by without a computer? Not me! We wouldn't be able to blog for one thing! My husband and his friend used to be hired for their ability to illustrate... with much sadness for them they now find they are hired to use their computers! With less time to draw & colour by hand... the whole process is much quicker but it just isn't the same...

Other storybook gems from the past can be found at the Rosetta Project. Old & rare children's books are scanned into the computer and are being saved for generations to come. You can even download them! Great idea.

Seeing these books online has made me want to scour a few garage sales & oppourtunity shops to see if I can find some old "Milly Molly Mandy", Enid Blyton or even some old Little Golden Books. T

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sew Sweet:: Bags of Goodness

Want one of these bags? Or maybe both? I do... and if I needed more convincing there is even a close up of the different possible details...

And it is just possible that I can make it! Yee gods! With the help of this Japanese craft book...

It comes with a plan for a week worth of lessons, with step by step instructions complete with diagrams & pictures.

Even with this guide and the possibilities that I could have both bags I have a feeling it might end up on the backburner as Nicky & I are trying to stockpile all our market goodies... because I just might be off to Tokyo soon! Yay! T

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sweet Eats:: The sweetest surprise...

On Sunday we caught up with some good friends Soo & Jono and their kids for lunch. Soo had recently mentioned to me that thanks to trawling all those crafty blogs out there...her old passion for sewing had been rekindled and she had been gradually amassing some fabrics and whipping things up with her sewing machine.

Well, nothing quite prepared me for the sweetest surprise Soo presented me with. Tied up with stripey ribbon was a copy of Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme (!!) and a lovely oven mitt she made from a quilting book by Denyse Schmidt. I was absolutely gobsmacked by her generosity....and her sewing skills! She obviously knew about our reverence for the master patissier that is Pierre Herme...and maybe even my fixation with spotty fabric?! It was the most perfect and unexpected gift in every way. I love them...thank you so much Soo! You've really inspired me to get going on my sewing...

Here is some spotty detail on the oven mitt....

The cover of the book...

And here are some of the delectable goodies inside (Warning: do not view if your tummy is rumbling even the slightest!):

Chocolate macaroons...

Chocolate-filled millefeuille (& you know how obsessed we are with these)...

Chocolate cigarettes (I see more tuile-rolling in my future!)...

Warm chocolate & raspberry tart...

The Concorde (you gotta love a cake with a name like that!)...

....And so it goes on....pages after pages of choccy recipes, some of which look reasonably do-able & others that are in another league!! I don't know where to start...licking the pages is not an option! N

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sweet & Soft :: Amisha

This is little Amisha... the budding Bollywood dancer, her favourite dessert is Kulfi.

I love a bit of Bollywood.. my favourite movie list is littered with Indian -English films... Bride & Predjudice, Bend it like Beckham just to name two. One of my Indian friends is going to marry a guy from the Punjabi region, this is where Bollywood type dancing apparently is from. Her region have their own style, so she has to go for lessons so she is up to form at the wedding reception... I have already volunteered to go with her! Unfortunately little Amisha is on her way to London so she won't be able to come along! T

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sweet Inspiration! Heartful Style

Colour combinations... you just don't know how important they are! Some can remind me of childhood, trips to Paris, make me happy or serene. Anthropolgie is a master of colour & their combinations- why else would I feel so happy when I get the chance to go there? Why else would I walk out with a butter yellow jacket? My boy always chuckles when he goes in there, he says all the girls look so happy, they can't stop smiling and kissing their husbands. Does he know he only gets kisses after the purchase?

Here are some yummy colour combinations. Momo sent me a wad of Japanese papers that I love to look at...

And a metal snowflakes that I have still got to decide where to hang!

She also sent me a Masaki book! Heartful style...

Some of Masaki's inspirations...

Masaki's daughter designed this little sheep... and now it is in her store on cups and other things. What a great idea! I think I am going to steal it.

Tips on how to wrap a present...

And shopping tips, when you are in London...

Feeling inspired to go and clean up my craft area & make it special! T

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sew Sweet: Button bounty

Today we spent the day making hair accessories that have become a popular addition to our weekly market stall. They consist of fabric-covered buttons and like our softies, are made from fabrics rescued from the manufacturing process. We love the colour combinations when we mix them up altogether...they look like colourful sweets!

Initially, we tested the market waters with our hair ties...and we realised girls (of all ages!) really like to wear "bobbles" in their hair, harking back to the days when we were little kids in pigtails! Thanks to the great response, we have only recently branched out into making hair clips and these are also a hit, almost outselling the hair ties! There are lots of fabrics to choose from and some people have a hard time deciding which ones they want...

In fact, we have been so busy making the hair accessories for the market...that we haven't even had a chance to make any for ourselves! Tiff was even picking her favourites today as we made them...until we came to the conclusion that we each need a set of all of them! I think we have our work cut out for us for some time yet...N